Baltimore, education, science

from the backhanded department

Last week, there were people standing outside the Hopkins bookstore handing out free copies of The Origin Of Species to everyone who passed by. The edition was published, and I have to assume the effort was funded, by these people – “publishing the changeless word for a changing world.” It’s a Florida-based Christian publisher – and the back cover tells us, “A wealth of scientific discoveries since 1971 give a resounding answer to whether Darwin’s theory has been proved,” and otherwise refers to evolution as “an unproved theory.”

An interesting way to make your point, handing out copies of the foundation text of the theory you’re arguing against. I would think that the arguments of the Darwin would outweigh the commentary they’re trying to package it with.

Also fun, from the cover: “This [edition] is for use in schools, colleges, and prestigious learning institutions.” Not for the un-prestigious. I wonder how many colleges in the South they’ve been handing these out in? And if one more person tells me that Baltimore isn’t in the South, I’m going to have to refer the matter to the enormous statue of Stonewall outside the door. It may not be the deep South, but it sure isn’t the North.


becoming irrelevant

” “Although people in humanities have always lamented the state of the field, they have never felt quite as much of a panic that their field is becoming irrelevant,” said Andrew Delbanco, the director of American studies at Columbia University.

Patricia Cohen, NYT via AJ

education, theater

against my will, I am sent to bid you come in to dinner.

I have been riding three hours a day, twice a week, on three different buses and trains to audit an undergraduate class devoted to the works of the playwright whom Leland Stanford Stamper calls “Willy the Shakes.” The professor is an expert on S. in performance, and we are never far from the text as spoken. He frequently soliloquizes, from memory, during the class. Very old-school.

Something that surprised me, as I prepared to read R3 and R2, was how little I enjoy experiencing these plays as books. It’s as if we are discussing the scores of great symphonies without ever listening to the music. Although it isn’t possible to watch a Shakespearean film without disagreeing about interpretation, I think that, in the future, I will always watch the movie first, if there is a movie. These lines don’t work for me on the page.

It is odd, too, to be gathered anew in a room with a large group of people, discussing a play, and to not have it begin with a read-through. I keep looking round for the designers, notebooked and spectacled, scribbling illegible cue notes. I expect to hear, murmured from behind me, “Dara, here’s the new script.” How do they even know what they’re talking about if they haven’t read it aloud?

Were anyone to be so misguided as to give me the direction of a drama seminar, I would abolish the sections and replace them, instead, with a reading (aloud) of each play in question.


Stanford announces financial aid enhancements

“Stanford University today announced the largest increase in its history for its financial aid program for undergraduates.

Under the new program, parents with incomes of less than $100,000 will no longer pay tuition. Parents with incomes of less than $60,000 will not be expected to pay tuition or contribute to the costs of room, board and other expenses.”